Goodness, things have been whizzing past me and I haven’t really had time to keep you all informed about what’s happening on our end! Sorry about that. I trust that you all have been keeping well, yes? 🙂
So here’s what’s been happening recently:
Studio renovations to begin on Tuesday, October 7th.
I met with our contractor earlier this morning (yes, despite it being a public holiday–I guess we’re both as excited about getting this project off the ground!). We’ve talked about deadlines, aiming to reopen the studio in mid November–so he’s promised to do all he can to help me achieve that target. The total renovation cost is looking to be at around RM45,000, not including some extra fittings like a good water filter and (maybe) a new air conditioning unit (which I’m trying my best to avoid purchasing).
In the meantime I’ve been trying my best to churn out enough stock to last us till November, and hopefully into the Christmas season as well. The prospect of shutting down production for 6 straight weeks is terrifying (I’ve never been without my soaping equipment and essential oils for so long!), but it needs to be done. The upside from this is that I will be forced to concentrate on doing up my filing system and paperwork in readiness for the studio’s reopening, and hopefully also dedicate more time to my poor children who have been going for days without me at home for 80% of their waking hours. My guilt is gnawing away at me. :”)
Christmas Warmth soap on the curing rack!
These turned out to beÂ phenomenally difficultÂ to cut–partly because I left them in their molds for more than 24 hours, and partly because I used a soap recipe that was geared towards hardness and a longer-lasting bar. It took me 20 minutes to get the first slab through the log slicer. 20 minutes of huffing, heaving and pushing with all my might–for a single slab. Lessons learned: either cut the soap earlier if using a hard soap formulation, or opt for a softer formulation. Bumping up the water content should also keep the soap mixture from tracing too quickly, but I would only opt for this if I am certain of having at least 6 weeks of curing time available for the soap.
The end result was worth all the effort though! 🙂 I’m very happy with how they’ve turned out, and the scent is lovely. They have different designs, but all the soap bars have the same, welcoming, warm and spicy scents of clove, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, sweet orange and just a touch of peppermint. I’veÂ made 3 batches this year–I hope that will be sufficient.
Â Plans for the next 6 weeks
I would really, really like to be taking a bit of a breather… So I will, for a few days, so I can recharge ahead of the busy holiday season ahead. The kids are going to LOVE that mummy will be home for more hours in a day for a change! 🙂 Gotta schedule some time to also catch up on a bit of sketching, mending of the kids’ clothes, tending to the garden, thinking about the coming year.
Apart from that there’s all the background, unglamorousÂ administrative work that needs sorting out. I have a couple of new corporate clients to get properly acquainted with, and there’s also the question of hiring a part-time production staff. Finding a suitable candidateÂ will be an interesting pursuit. I haven’t heard anything on my FB feed about people being interested in doing crafty kinds of work for a living (unless it’s to run their own business), so I’m preparing myself to reach out beyond my natural connections to find that special someone (or couldÂ you be the person I’m looking for? Write to me!)
How am I feeling?
A little overwhelmed, to be frank. :”) But it’s okay. Nothing that a good night’s rest can’t fix. I’ve found that one of my most effective coping mechanisms when it comes to managing stress is to engage in physically demanding activities like this. What’s yours?